Swoyersville officer facing DUI charge in Lackawanna County

By Ed Lewis [email protected]



SCRANTON — A Swoyersville police officer remains on the job as he faces drunken driving charges in Lackawanna County Court.

State police at Dunmore allege Richard Paul Vaow, 29, of Scranton, was the driver of a Nissan Sentra that sideswiped a Honda Civic while traveling north on Interstate 81 in Scranton on Dec. 19.

Troopers said they traced the Nissan’s license plate to Vaow’s residence, where it was found parked in the driveway with damage.

Vaow exited his residence yelling profanities at troopers to get off his property, and eventually sat in the Nissan when told the vehicle was being towed, according to court records.

Troopers say in court records Vaow had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage and identified himself with his Swoyersville police officer badge, court records say.

Vaow continued to yell obscenities and laughed at troopers, telling them to go back up on the highway.

When troopers told Vaow his vehicle was being towed as it was involved in a hit-and-run crash, court records say Vaow stated he was going to have the state police cruiser towed as it was partially blocking his driveway.

Vaow exhibited poor coordination and motor skills during a field sobriety test, court records say.

He submitted to a blood test that allegedly showed an alcohol level of 0.14%.

An adult driver in Pennsylvania is considered legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of 0.08%.

Several hours after the crash, Vaow called the investigating trooper to apologize for his behavior. He told the trooper during the phone call he worked a double shift on Dec. 18 and went out after work drinking shots and did not realize he struck another vehicle, court records say.

Swoyersville Mayor Chris Concert said Thursday that Vaow is still employed by the borough’s police department and has not been suspended. Concert said the circumstances will be revisited after the disposition of Vaow’s case.

Vaow recently had a preliminary hearing in Lackawanna County Central Court where a district judge forwarded two counts of driving under the influence and one count each of accidents involving damage to attended vehicle, careless driving and failure to stop and render aid to Lackawanna County Court.